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Baylor University Names Former U.S. Congressman Chet Edwards as The W.R. Poage Distinguished Chair for Public Service, Donation of Congressional Paper
Baylor University Names Former U.S. Congressman Chet Edwards as The W.R. Poage Distinguished Chair for Public Service, Donation of Congressional Paper | wac_txbz, Chet Edwards,

Chet Edwards

Texas Business reports: Elizabeth Davis, executive vice president and provost at Baylor University, announced the appointment of former U.S. Congressman Chet Edwards as The W.R. Poage Distinguished Chair for Public Service.

The veteran public servant will serve the university in a part-time capacity as he divides his time between commitments in Waco and Washington, D.C.

In his new role, Edwards will be in-residence at Baylor two weeks per semester. During his residency, he will provide public and classroom lectures, primarily in the areas of political science and economics, and leadership development training through various programs in the Division of Student Life. He also will leverage his experience in Washington, D.C., to host educational events in the nation's capital for Baylor students who participate in the university's longtime Washington Internship Program.

With an office in the W.R. Poage Legislative Library at Baylor, the former Congressman will assist in processing the Edwards Archive, which consists of more than 200 linear feet of paper and substantial digital materials from his 20 years of public service. Once processed, the collection will be available to scholars and citizens interested in extending their understanding of legislative processes and political history.

"Congressman Edwards has demonstrated leadership for decades, representing Central Texans at the highest levels of government," Davis said. "We are grateful he is now here at Baylor University and look forward to his contributions to our public conversation, in the classroom and as we preserve his important legislative papers as part of our permanent research collection in our libraries."

“The Division of Student Life is pleased to welcome Congressman Edwards to Baylor University in his role as The W.R. Poage Distinguished Chair for Public Service,” said Kevin P. Jackson, vice president for student life at Baylor. “Congressman Edwards will work alongside our students and help them identify and develop their unique talents, skills and abilities. He knows firsthand how teaching and mentoring relationships in college can shape a person's life--as it did for him resulting in a career in public service that spanned over 20 years. To have a person of his expertise and caliber available to our students provides a tremendous opportunity to enhance student leadership development and community service at Baylor--two components that are critical to our mission.”

“It is a personal privilege to be able to teach and work with Baylor students and to do so in conjunction with the University's outstanding faculty,” Edwards said. “I am deeply excited about this opportunity and humbled to hold a Chair named in honor of Congressman Bob Poage, who dedicated his life in distinguished service to Baylor, Central Texas, our state and nation.”


In addition to assisting with his papers, Edwards will plan and facilitate forums to encourage community dialogue on political issues, deliver the spring lecture for the Poage Library and provide specialized programs that will benefit the educational experience of interns from the libraries and other departments, said Pattie Orr, vice president for information technology and dean of University Libraries.

“Congressman Edwards will be an excellent resource for faculty and students in this new role, and his assistance in processing his congressional papers will ensure both the depth and integrity of the collection as we preserve his archive for the use of future scholars and citizens,” Orr said.

The Poage Library, dedicated in 1979, currently archives the papers of 12 former Congressmen, nine Texas legislators, including Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock, and five judges, as well as numerous ancillary collections.

“The foundation of a research university is established, in part, by the quality of its research resources,” Davis said. “The addition of the Edwards Archive to the Baylor University Libraries substantially bolsters our holdings in the areas of political science and legislative history. Welcoming Chet Edwards as Distinguished Chair for Public Service at Baylor will enrich our academic conversation, inspire our students and assure the quality of preservation of his materials.”

While the Edwards Archive will take time to prepare for either scholarly research or public access, an online resource for this collection, located at, will be launched in mid-January.